A Year in the Life of a
Teacher Resident at Alder GSE

Residents in the Teacher Residency program begin their year in June and are immersed in the entire TK-12 school year at their residency site. During this intensive year of preparation, residents earn their Master’s degree and Teaching Credential. Residents graduate from Alder with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to be highly effective teachers from the first day in their own classrooms.  Read on to see what a year in the life of a resident from Cohort 2020–2021 looks like.

Spotlight on the First Summer Term
(Mid June to Late July)

The Teacher Residency kicks off in June with program orientation and the start of graduate coursework.

  • Graduate Coursework: Residents come together for regional coursework. During this time, residents learn about the upcoming year and take their first full-day graduate school courses toward their Master’s degree. Many residents also use the summer to complete state requirements, such as content tests.
  • School Site Connection: Residents will participate in their school site retreats and professional development during the summer. Here, they meet their new school site teammates and learn about logistics and expectations at their school. Residents collaborate with their Mentor Teachers and begin to participate in all facets of the launch of the school year.


Spotlight on the Fall
(August to December)

  • Graduate Coursework: All residents are engaged in ongoing intensive online courses, which are supplemented by in-person regional coursework (regional coursework is held one day every three weeks). In a typical year, these regional courses are held in person with other cohorts in the region.
  • Teaching: On the first day of school, residents are introduced by their mentors as co-teachers to their students. Residents gradually take on increasing amounts of responsibility in the classroom during the fall. Residents also complete a three- to five-day takeover in November. During this takeover, residents are responsible for all dimensions of teaching and learning in their residency classroom while their Mentor Teacher offers coaching and support. Partner Directors also observe and coach residents as they engage in instruction. Residents work with their school administrators and Mentor Teachers to provide quality instruction, whether that is in-person or distance learning.
  • Weekly Seminar: Residents attend a full-day seminar course with their regional cohort once a week starting in August. These seminars will extend across the year (August to May). Seminars include cohort team building, discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the TK-12 classroom; and opportunities for targeted teaching practice. This is a place for residents to build community with their cohort and Partner Director and is an opportunity to connect their graduate coursework with what they are experiencing in their residency sites.

Spotlight on the Spring
(January to May)

  • Graduate Coursework: All residents continue to engage in ongoing intensive online courses and in-person regional coursework (regional coursework is held one day every three weeks). In a typical year, these regional courses are held in person with other cohorts in the region. Courses in the spring include the Action Research course, in which residents engage in a graduate-level research project they design and execute in their placement classrooms.
  • Teaching: Residents continue to engage in co-teaching with their mentor, evolving their responsibilities as the school year moves toward its end. Residents have owned all aspects of classroom instruction by this point, so the focus becomes refining and improving practice in anticipation of residents leading their own classrooms in the upcoming fall. This includes residents engaging in lead teaching and takeovers throughout the spring. 
  • Weekly Seminar: In the spring, seminars take a deeper dive into instruction. The focus is rigorous, individualized, purposeful teaching and learning. Seminars focus on questioning, checking for understanding, and providing students with targeted feedback, continuously tying field experiences to coursework. As the year comes to a close, residents also begin to take a look back and a look forward, with seminars focusing on three milestones for residents: edTPA, job interviews, and the Master’s Oral Exam. 

Spotlight on Completing the Residency Year
(May to June)

  • Completing the Residency Year: At the end of the residency year, residents finish their final graduate courses and wrap up their time at their school sites.  Graduation is typically celebrated early June, and the final day of the residency coincides with the last day of school at the residents’ school sites.